Now in its seventh year, last week’s Unmentionable: A Lingerie Exposition featured an eclectic roster of designers, and a great variety of body types (as well as an orgy of local chocolatiers, aphrodisiac scents, and handmade underwear available for sale). And while some of the collections were like a weekend by the fireplace with champagne, strawberries, and other Valentine’s clichés, others were more like two minutes in a bathroom stall at CC Slaughters. Here’s what I thought:
The collection from Rogue:Minx was sporty and simple with beautiful signature prints and sheer cutouts. Whether bodysuit, briefs, or bra, the front of the garments were covered with a rose print and the backside was hinted at through black sheer fabric.
Poetic Works Lingerie needs work. There didn’t seem to be a common thread that made these ensembles a collection. The combination of a bright red jacquard with a bright white jersey wasn’t easy on the eyes, and neither were garter belts that cut the models’ bodies into unflattering sections. It felt like the design elements were working against each other.
As soon as Allihalla’s first look took the stage, the crowd went nuts. Clearly one for flash and ass, this collection was full of exciting color combinations and backside cutouts. I dare anyone to wear this lingerie and not smile; it was like you knew how much fun the designer had creating them.
KD Designs didn’t give us anything we couldn’t find at American Apparel. When I saw the most generic black sports bra paired with the simplest black leggings, I felt myself starting to appreciate Yeezy Season.
Next up, Bawdy Love! Lulled into a trance of bondage straps and body positivity, I felt like I was letting go of my own inhibitions. I especially love the electric blue lace bra under a chest harness in the shape of a pentagram.
It was love at first look with Fraulein Couture, whose collection was sexy without trying too hard. With comfortable fits draped in black burnout velvet and emerald green lace, it was the “lounge around your house with the curtains open” kind of sexy.
When showcasing lingerie, it’s easy for designers to rely on shock value to get cheers from the crowd, so it was a breath of fresh air when Lille Boutique took to the runway. No gimmicks, just beautifully designed lingerie with intricate seaming and a romantic color palette. I can see these garments working for most body types and wish Lille had demonstrated this with greater a variation in model choices—but that’s nitpicking a perfect collection.
I’m usually a love-it-or-hate-it kind of guy, but Copper Union had me all twisted. I love the floor length sheer robes with rose embroidery on the back, but the crushed velvet and red hearts were too on-the-nose. Every great robe moment was counteracted by a dowdy nighty.
To my surprise, Altar Houseline makes lingerie and swimsuits, and this was probably my favorite collection, because each garment felt modern and reinvented. The mix of muted mustard, deep emerald green, rust brown, and pale silver gave vintage nostalgia, but the straight necklines and minimalistic draping pushed the line forward. [Full Disclosure: Altar is owned by Sold Out columnist Cassie Ridgway.]
Chubby Cartwheels takes me back to a time in my life full of spandex, platform heels, and Lady Gaga’s The Fame. This collection was full of attitude and self-expression, with spandex bodysuits and feathered shoulders. The next time I feel like dusting off my dancing shoes I’ll definitely be hitting them up.
Moore’s collection was sporty, and though reminiscent of other things out there, definitely had its own voice. (For example, “Fuck Moore” was blasted across a cheeky tank paired with topical printed briefs and fishnet stockings.) I loved the cropped wide leg joggers, but my favorite design element was the branding. The logo trim around the waistline of the tropical printed underwear and sheer socks gave the impression that this is what the cool kids are wearing.
If your chonies are constantly riding up into un-pick-able places, then look no further than Thunderpants, famously known for their anti-wedgie undergarments. This is a great everyday underwear brand that has something for everyone with cute, angelic prints of whales, clouds, and flowers that make you smile.
VAVA Lingerie kept it chic. Each model wore a unique floral headpiece (not in a played-out Coachella way... more like “ethereal nature goddess”) and matching lace sets. Like a capsule collection, you could mix any top with any bottom depending on what flattered your shape. Everything was sheer, but the separates could be layered with mini-length circle skirts and lace negligées.
All in all, Unmentionable was not only a fun show, but also a great reminder to shop local for your next pair of chonies.
Bryce Black is a graduate of the Art Institute of Portland, a season 9 contestant on Project Runway, and a brand ambassador for Chanel.